MACPAC Bear Drive Continues
Several months ago, a group of concerned Moore County young women calling themselves The MacPac (an acronym for Moore Advocates for Compassion) took on a new project. They formed a North Carolina chapter of Hugs Across America, and their efforts have started paying off.
Their first event, held last October, was a kid-friendly street fair at which they introduced the concept of bringing a new teddy bear in lieu of admission. The purpose of Hugs Across America is to comfort children in crisis through the hugs of teddy bears..
The organization, begun as a direct response to the World Trade Center disaster in 2001, has grown to include chapters in 33 states, and has provided teddy bears in nationwide emergency situations -- most recently to families devastated by a Pennsylvania house fire, Midwest tornadoes, and students at Northern Illinois University following the Valentine Day massacre.
Locally, the MacPac'ers have donated bears to Friend to Friend to give to children coming to the shelter, and to the Red Cross in Southern Pines, as well as sending them to the national headquarters for distribution.
Recently the MacPac'ers put on another successful bear-raising daytime event called "Baby Boogie" at Mint Juleps in Southern Pines. Children ages 7 and under were invited to bring one parent, and each child got in free if they also brought a new bear with them. The total number of bears attending the party was 150, with a Sanford Academy Gymnastics team donating 30 of the huggable friends.
Food was donated by Roly-Poly, Chick-fil-A and Elliott's on Linden, and entertainment consisted of kid-appropriate dance music, PlayDough, face painting, coloring and bubbles. According to a spokesperson, many parents have urged for a repeat of the event, to make up for a lack of activities in the area for this age group. So, plans are underway for a repeat in the fall.
In the meantime, currently there are drop off stations at the Southern Pines Elementary School, Dr. Bartiss' office in Pinehurst, Sandhills Pediatrics, Aging Outreach Services and Hair Play in Southern Pines. Hugs Across America request that the teddy bears be 8 to 14 inches tall (the perfect huggable size) and new, not used. This last condition is to prevent the spread of germs.
Right now, the Mac Pac'ers are hoping that the idea of collecting and distributing the bears will catch on in the Sandhills so that they can raise enough bears to make them available to all local police and fire stations.
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